There is a fig tree in my garden. He has big green leaves and small yellow figs. Within a month they will grow big, turn purple and become soft, sweet enough to harvest. If I do not pick them, they will fall of the tree by themselves with no effort at all. During autumn the tree will lose its leaves as well and in winter the tree will turn bare and will direct its awareness toward its roots and silently prepare for another growing cycle.

We as human beings are not separated from nature, but are part of it. The energy that makes us breath, that makes our hearts beat, that mysterious life energy, that is the same energy that makes a tree grow, that creates the seasons and makes the earth turn around the sun. We are nature. By being in a natural environment and carefully observe all these repeating processes we can learn a lot about what we need to live our full potential.

Taking time for silence and reflection is an essential part of growth. If you like to move on, make new steps, it is very important to stand still first; to put all distractions aside and bring your awareness within and make contact with the roots of your existence.

Silence can be frightening. Within silence you can encounter feelings that have careful been hidden in your daily life. Some people can even be afraid for moments of silence in conversations. They feel the need to fill each empty space with words. In the space of silence they are being confronted with feelings of insecurity and fear of rejection. When you encounter longer periods of silence, you can be faced with a deep sense of loneliness.

Still it can be beneficial to seek the silence within yourself. If you have to courage to face all those feelings (that are there anyway) and fully sense them; if you dare to embrace your deepest pains and fears, with kind compassion, and find out that you actually are able to carry all these unpleasant feelings, you will give yourself a chance to truly come home in yourself. You will no longer move along the edge, but will sink deep in the basis of your existence.

‘To be(come) a true human being, one needs moments of silence, separation, one needs the desert’, says Bieke Vanderkerckhove in her intrusive book ‘De smaak van stilte’ (The taste of silence). Allow yourself to be a true human being. Allow yourself to live your life fully, with everything that comes along. When all emotions are lived through, they can be released and become a fertile soil for new seeds to germ.

If you really undergo the silence of winter, the bareness, the cold, the joy you experience in spring will be more abundant. Your steps will be more solid, the fruits you pick will be juicier de space around you more open and free.

And of course, as everything in nature changes all the time, this experience will vanish too. Just like sorrow comes and goes, will ecstasy come and go as well. But, if you will seek the silence with the regularity of the seasons, the ground of your existence will be peaceful and earthed. The rooted tree will not break with the first storm that comes along, but it will stay firm and tall, just softly bending its branches.